Local News Archives

Protective Vest For Van Buren County Police Dog

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is getting a bullet and stab protective vest for one of its K9s thanks to a donation. Vested Interest in K9s, a group that gives police dogs protective vests throughout the country, is helping to provide Kuno with the duds. The vest is sponsored by Jim and Stephanie Balch of Battle Creek, and will be embroidered with the phrase “This gift of protection provided by the Balch Family.” Kuno is expected to get the vest within ten weeks. Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 3,200 protective vests to police dogs around the nation.. ...Read Full Story

New Year, New Police Chief For Benton Township

A new year brings a new chief of police for Benton Township. With the retirement of former Chief Vince Fetke, Chief Brian Smit started this week. Smit tells WSJM News he’s excited to move up in the department from the role of detective-lieutenant. He’s been with the Benton Township Police Department since 1996, having previously been an officer in Benton Harbor for two years. He says he wants to engage the community so people know him.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Considers How To Handle Failed Roads

A new failed condition roads policy has been adopted by the Van Buren County Road Commission that has the agency pulverizing and turning into gravel roads that are found not fit to be patched. The road commission tells us it pulverized nine miles of road in 2018 at a cost of about $345,000. It says those were road segments that had failed beyond the point of maintenance. In 2019, seven of those newly-gravel roads will be examined to see if they can be repaved. The Van Buren County Road Commission Board last month adopted the failed road policy after discussing it with township governments. It lays out for staff how to identify a road as failed, and then how the locals affected will be engaged as a decision is made about it. The Van Buren County Road Commission says $1.2 million of its budget in 2017 was spent on fixing potholes. It’s hoping the new policy will help it to be more efficient.. ...Read Full Story

Big Grant For SWM Job Training

Kinexus has helped to secure a $1.9 million grant for southwest Michigan businesses to train workers. The money comes from the state’s Going Pro Talent Fund to help 43 local employers enhance their staff. Kinexus Director of Business Solutions Jeff Hannan tells WSJM News the money will supplement the cost for more than 1,600 workers to upgrade their skills in the manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality fields.. ...Read Full Story

Strong Attendance For SWM Lawmakers In 2018

The state lawmakers who represented southwest Michigan in Lansing during the most recent legislative session get gold stars for attendance. According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s annual report on missed votes by lawmakers, former state Senator John Proos, former state Representatives Kim LaSata and Dave Pagel, and state Representative Beth Griffin missed zero votes in 2018. Former state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker missed 24 out of more than 1,600 roll calls taken in the Senate. The Mackinac Center’s Jack McHugh tells WSJM News the organization started tracking missed votes in 2003.. ...Read Full Story

Crews Search River For Woman

Police are looking for a woman who reportedly fell into the Black River in South Haven Township early Saturday. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells us it scoured the water after getting a report that a female had fallen into the river along the Kal-Haven Trail near 73rd Street around 3:25 a.m. The incident was reported by a male companion. The South Haven Police Department and Van Buren County Sheriff Department also joined in the search. The incident remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Treasurers Watching State Foreclosure Suit

A property foreclosure lawsuit headed to the Michigan Supreme Court is being watched closely by county treasurers across the state. That includes Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski, who tells us the results in the Oakland County case could affect Berrien “big time.” The suit is from a Southfield man who lost a property due to an unpaid tax bill of less than $9. Oakland County took the property and then sold it for $24,000. The man says he should get the proceeds that go above the tax bill. Witkowski tells WSJM News he understands, but it’s that extra revenue from foreclosure sales that pay for demolitions of abandoned buildings.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Springs Lawmaker Ready To Get To Work

78th District Michigan Representative Brad Paquette is ready to get to work in Lansing. The Berrien Springs Republican was just elected in November, and tells us he looks forward to the start of the 100th Michigan Legislature on Wednesday. He wants residents in southern Berrien County to know his door and phone line are open.. ...Read Full Story

Credit Union Offers Help To Those Affected By Government Shutdown

A local credit union is offering a little help to members who are federal government employees affected by the shutdown. United Federal Credit Union tells us it’s offering those folks installment loan deferments and waiving the penalty for early withdrawals on share certificates, among other things. Chief Marketing Officer Erin Hennessy tells WSJM News they want those affected by the partial government shutdown to know something.. ...Read Full Story